The Settings

the settings

I adore both Northwestern Montana and Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Thanks for making the trip with me!

You can see images that inspired my books on Pinterest, where I’ve created boards for the Spice Shop Mysteries and the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, along with boards illustrating my year as Sisters in Crime president, my beloved Montana, the Killer Characters group blog, and more!


Jewel Bay exists only in my mind–and I hope, in yours, after you’ve taken an armchair tour. To help guide you, here are my maps of the Village and the area.

jewel bay

jewel bay 2

But Jewel Bay does resemble Bigfork, Montana, a picturesque town tucked between the Mission and Swan Mountains and Flathead Lake, where the Swan and Flathead Rivers flow into the lake. It sparkles year-round, with art galleries, theater and music, outdoor recreation (golf, boating, hiking, riding, and more), and yes, lip-smacking restaurants. Like Jewel Bay, Bigfork is not an incorporated town, but you can find tourist info from the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce.

Glacier National Park, aka The Crown of the Continent, is only thirty miles away.

Get more ideas for exploring “Glacier Country” from the Montana Office of Tourism.

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As a student at Seattle University and later as a young lawyer working downtown, I ate my way through the city’s famed Pike Place Market at least once or twice a week. I’d start at the main entrance with a slice of pizza from DeLaurenti’s walk-up window, then browse the magazine covers at the First & Pike Newsstand—eyes only until my hands were clean! I’d sip a sample cup of tea from Market Spice while watching the fishmongers throw salmon and amuse the crowd with their comedy routine, pick my produce and cheese for the week, and end with dessert—a hazelnut sablé from Le Panier, the French bakery, or a Nanaimo bar from a now-departed take-out joint in the warren off Post Alley.

So naturally, when I thought about setting a mystery series in Seattle, the Market beckoned. I’ve done my best to be faithful to the city of Seattle, but a city is not a stagnant thing. Shops and restaurants open and close. Buildings come down and go up. Public works projects run into obstacles—sometimes literally, as in the case of Big Bertha, the machine tunneling near the waterfront so the Alaskan Way Viaduct can be relocated underground. If the city on the page does not quite match the one you know or remember, please forgive me.

And I’ve taken a few liberties to make the Garden Center building, now home to Beecher’s Cheese and the Local Color art studio and café, work for a spice shop, and to create the loft where Pepper lives. My Seattle Spice Shop is not Market Spice nor any other actual business. But if I have captured some of the flavor of the Market, then the magic of the tea is still working.


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